And takeÖthe sword of the Spirit, which  is the word of God.   Ephesians 6:17

THE
SPIRITíS
SWORD

Volume 18, Number 38
05/15/2016

Published by
Mt. Baker
church of Christ

Location:
  
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
Mailing Address:

       P.O. Box 30821
  Bellingham, WA 98228
       (360) 752-2692

Sunday:
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Worship..10:30AM; 6:00PM

Wednesday:
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
All sing last Wednesday

Web sites:
Mt. Baker church
Bible Answers

Editor......Joe R. Price


Elders
Morris Bass
Rick Holt

Deacons
Aaron Bass
Rich Brooks
Mike Finn
Dan Head


 

In this issue:


How To Tell When You Are Getting Weak

1. When you had rather stay home than assemble with the saints.

2. When you had rather watch TV than visit the sick (or weak) and teach the lost.

3. When you had rather read a magazine or the daily paper than the Bible or religious material.

4. When you find a political speech inspiring but a gospel sermon boring.

5. When you pray for the preacher by sleep through his sermons.

6. When you thank God for the elders but refuse to cooperate with them.

7. When you talk long and loud about what the church should do, but never do your part in what is being done now.

8. When you sing with your lips what you donít really mean in your heart.

9. When you look upon spiritual work as a chore rather than a privilege.

10. When you are offended by an article like this.

-Caprock Church Bulletin, 1991

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The Cost of Repentance
Joe R. Price

 

In America and beyond, many see Christianity as a religion of convenience, not conviction. Baby boomers went church shopping in the 1990s, "traveling from church to church or faith to faith, sampling creeds, shopping for a custom-made God" ("The Church Search," Time Magazine, April 5, 1993, 45). In the wake of their church-shopping mentality came their children, the Millennials, and a generation that completely abandons moral absolutes and restraints (Rom. 1:24-32).

New Testament Christianity will never appeal to the mindset that looks for "a religion that fits me." The gospel that produces Christians calls on men and women to "fit" themselves to the will of God, through personal faith, repentance of sins and full obedience to the word of the Lord (Rom. 1:16-17; Matt. 7:21-23). That is not accomplished by church shopping.

The cost of discipleship is high, and that includes the cost of repentance (Lk. 14:25-33). While people look for a church that fits their desires (that is, teachings and practices that scratch their itching ears, 2 Tim. 4:3-4), the Bible tells the story of people who heard the gospel and were so persuaded by it that they paid a very high price to have its blessings of salvation for themselves. They found the "pearl of great price," and paid whatever price had to be paid in order to possess it (Matt. 13:45-46).

Consider one such example. The place was Ephesus, during a time when practicing magical arts and sorcery combined with the worship of Diana to form a powerful force over the lives of its citizens. Into this bastion of idolatry and sorcery-based superstitions came the apostle Paul, preaching Jesus Christ, His kingdom and His Way (Acts 19:8-10). The miracles that accompanied his preaching were astounding, convincing many in the city of the superior power of Jesus Christ and His gospel over their sorcery (Acts 19:11-17). Consequently, many believers divested themselves of their sinful practices, burning the very books which had once directed their performance of magical arts (Acts 19:19). Their action of repentance cost them a combined total of 50,000 pieces of silver (enough money to pay the yearly wages of 200 men). Yes, repentance cost them something.

Today, as then, the gospel calls on sinners to repent (Acts 17:30-31). Those who answer the gospel call must understand their personal repentance will cost them something (such as the ceasing of sin, the reordering of priorities, etc.). The cost may be financial, emotional, relational, or all these. For example, does not the gospel call on the businessman, who prospers from the sale of sinful products (like alcohol), to renounce such an enterprise and cease profiting from the sins of others (Eph. 5:7-11; Gal. 5:21)? Yes, as surely as a converted silversmith in Ephesus could no longer profit from idolatry (Acts 19:24-27). Or again, the gospel calls on those in adulterous remarriages to stop their sinful relationship (Matt. 19:9; Rom. 6:1-2). It is hard to conceive of a more emotionally traumatic experience (see Ezra 10, where unlawful marriages were ended). Yet, repentance demands the practice of every sin must cease, including sinful remarriages (Acts 26:20).

To be saved from our sins we must pay the price that repentance requires. Heaven will be worth the cost (Matt. 16:24-27). 

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You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

The Fight is On!

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 46:1-7

1. Christians must fight the good fight of faith, 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7-8.
2. We are fighting a spiritual battle for our souls, our children's and grandchildren's.
3. We live "in the evil day" (times of evil, Eph. 6:13): We must stand in the power of the Lord, Eph. 6:10-13, 14-18; Phil. 1:27; Jude 3.

I. THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH: GIDEON AND THE MIDIANITES. Judges 7; Heb. 11:32

  A. Faith is the Victory: God's 300, Jgs. 7:14-15.
    1. Not by strength of numbers, Jgs. 7:1-2.
    2. Not intermingled with the fearful and the distracted, Jgs. 7:3.
    3. Only by those the Lord chose, Jgs. 7:4-7.
    4. God's word was believed and obeyed in faith, Jgs. 7:14-15, 16-22.

II. WE FACE MIGHTY FOES THAT ARE ONLY DEFEATED BY FAITH, 2 Cor. 10:3-6.

  A. We Fight Against:
    1. The devil, 1 Pet. 5:8-9.
    2. The servants of the devil, 2 Cor. 11:13-15.
    3. The world and its sinful attractions, 1 Jno. 2:15-17.
    4. Unbelieving friends and family, Mt. 10:37
    5. Society and its worldly wisdom, Col. 2:8.
    6. False teachers, false doctrines, 2Pet. 2:1-3
    7. Compromising , complaining Christians, cf. Exo. 32:25-29 (Gal. 2:11-14).
  B. God Commands Victories for His People, Psa. 44:4 (3, 5-8); 1 Jno. 4:4-5; Rom. 8:31-39.

Conclusion. The fight is on; Will we fight?

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You can find the complete outline of this sermon plus PowerPoint and MP3 Audio files at BIBLE ANSWERS

We Will be Judged

Scripture Reading:  Romans 2:1-6

1. "Don't judge someone just because they sinned differently than you did." - Sign, Christ Lutheran Church, Ferndale WA (5/12/16)
2. This denies the truth Jesus taught, Matt. 7:1-5; Jno. 7:22-24; Lk. 12:57.
3. At the heart of the "judge not" mantra is that people do not want to be judged and their sins exposed, Jno. 3:19-21. Doers of truth come to the light and its scrutiny (21); those practicing evil hate the light (20).
4. We will not escape judgment; We will be judged. How do we react to this truth? 

I. WE WILL BE JUDGED BY THE LORD, Jno. 5:22-23.

  A. Everyone:  Saints and Sinners, Acts 17:31; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 10:30; 1 Jno. 4:17-18; 1 Cor. 15:32; 1 Ths. 5:2-3.

II. WE WILL BE JUDGED BY A COMMON STANDARD:  WORD OF GOD.

  A. All will be Judged by Divine Truth, Jno. 12:48-50; Rev. 20:12-15; Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10.
  B. We Accept the Lord's Judgment, not Men's, 1 Cor. 4:1-5.

III. WE ARE JUDGED BY THE WORLD WHEN WE ARE FAITHFUL TO CHRIST. Matt. 26:69-74

  A. Judged as Evildoers, 1 Pet. 2:11-12; 3:15-17; 4:4-5. Gal. 4:16
  B. Judged as a Cult (blinded, mindless, controlled), Matt. 7:20; 15:10-14.
  C. Judged as Insignificant and in Error, cf. 1 Pet. 3:20-21.

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NOTEWORTHY NEWS
(Current events in the light of Scripture)

Sacrificing Our Children
Joe R. Price

Our nation is in the throes of a moral crisis, and our children are being offered up on the altar of perversion. NBC News reports,

   "The Obama administration sent a letter Friday to every public school district in America warning them they should allow transgender students to use bathrooms consistent with their chosen gender identity, or risk losing federal funding.
   "The sweeping guidance does not have the force of law but warns that schools that don't comply could face lawsuits or lose federal aid." ( U.S. Gives Sweeping Guidance to Schools on Transgender Students, Elizabeth Chuck, nbcnews.com)

Gender is not assigned by one's emotional convictions or chosen desire. It is not determined by self-proclamation or some arbitrary, every-changing personal assessment. Gender-fluidity is one of the latest grotesque distortions of a narcissistic, idolatrous culture. People are worshiping themselves, denying and profaning God and the gender traits He created (Gen. 1:27; Rom. 1:22-25). Now, they are demanding that everyone else play along - or else.

What 6-year-old questions his or her gender without an adult directing them toward such thinking? Why not let the children decide everything for themselves? If a little boy can say, "I'm really a girl," and we must regard it as so, then we have lost all semblance of parental guidance, adult leadership, moral decency and clarity (Isa. 5:20). As Judah offered her children to Molech by passing them through the fire, we are being told to pass our children through this Godless prism of selfish indulgence (Jer. 7:30-31; Lev. 18:21).

Instead of encouraging confusion in little (and grownup) minds, we should teach them to embrace their God-given, biological gender. Transgenderism repudiates God and the life He gives us (Psa. 139:14). Now, our federal government is moving toward protecting this faithless repudiation of fact in order to uphold sinful fantasy. 

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Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.  05/16/2016

The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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ssword@bibleanswer.com